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Best of John Robison

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Determining cycles on a machine

27 October 2007

John:

I know you say there is an RNG that determines slot hits and wins but I swear when I sit and play at the machine I can see its cyclic behavior of wins and losses.

One strategy that I have employed which has worked well for me is to play minimum coin until the machine starts hitting. Then I go to maximum coin until I perceive it has stopped hitting. This has worked a number of times for me and I have won hundreds of dollars.

It is somewhat subjective because you have to determine when it "starts" and when it "stops," but it does seem to work for me. I believe that there is a cyclic nature to the wins and losses, or hits, not a random one.

Your thoughts please...

Chaz

Dear Chaz,

Your letter has all the classic earmarks of someone trying to find patterns where none exist. You have to "perceive" when a machine has started hitting. The method is "subjective."

If there truly were patterns on a slot machine, you would know when a machine would start hitting. The method would be deterministic, not subjective.

There are cycles on machines, but who ever said that cycles disprove randomness? On the contrary, streaks (called local non-randomness) are a requirement of randomness.

If an event is random, anything can happen. Anything including long cold streaks, long hot streaks, short streaks and choppy results.

All that said, I nevertheless do like your method of play. The casinos wants us to bet max coin all the time, but it is rarely in our best economic interests. By dropping your bet on some spins, you're able to stretch your bankroll and play longer.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots